Syria: A Path Forward

Aug 28, 2013

The world community needs to act forcefully to bring those responsible for using chemical weapons—anyone who commits war crime—to justice. But U.S. military action will hurt more than help, increasing violence and risk of more chemical weapons attacks. There is a nonviolent path forward in Syria.

Policy Recommendations

See FCNL's letter to Congress for details
  1. Reject U.S. military intervention, which would increase violence and risk of more chemical weapons attacks.
  2. Cosponsor H.R. 2494 or S. 1201, bipartisan legislation to prohibit military aid to Syria.
  3. Support continued UN investigations into alleged chemical weapons attacks.
  4. Urge President Obama to convene an emergency summit of relevant stakeholders.
  5. Press the United Nations Security Council to ask the ICC to investigate war crimes in Syria.
  6. Increase and better allocate humanitarian funds to address refugee flows.

Bipartisan Statements Against Military Action in Syria

Members of Congress

140 Representatives to President Obama

Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.

8/27/2013 - Letter from Rep. Scott Rigell (VA)

Sen. Chris Murphy (CT)

Before engaging in a military strike against Assad’s forces, the United States must understand that this action will likely draw us into a much wider and much longer-term conflict that could mean an even greater loss of life within Syria.


Sen. Jim Inhofe (OK)

It is vital we avoid shortsighted military action that would have little impact on the long-term trajectory of the conflict.


Sen. Tim Kaine (VA)

Absent an imminent threat to United States national security, the U.S. should not be engaged in military action without Congressional approval.


Rep. Tom Latham (IA-3)

Syria has not declared war on us…Why would we start escalating the crisis? I would be totally against that.


Sen. Jack Reed (RI) and Rep. Michael McCaul (TX)

We can't let ourselves get into a situation where this becomes a springboard for a general military option. We have to verify that it was directed by the Assad regime because that will allow us to build an international coalition because that will allow us to take any further steps in Syria.


Other Statements

President Carter

It is imperative to determine the facts of the attack and present them to the public. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must bear personal responsibility. The chemical attack should be a catalyst for redoubling efforts to convene a peace conference, to end hostilities, and urgently to find a political solution.


Fmr. Secretary of State Colin Powell

To think that we can change things immediately just because we're America, that's not necessarily the case. These are internal struggles.


UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon

Diplomacy should be given a chance and peace given a chance. It is important that all differences of opinion should be solved through peaceful means and through dialogue.


Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey

[Military action to destroy the Syrian Air Force] would not be militarily decisive, but it would commit us decisively to the conflict. In a variety of ways, the use of U.S. military force can change the military balance, but it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious, and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict.


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